Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!  We enjoyed two nights of trick or treating.  Our nieces and nephew had trick or treating last night and our neighborhood tonight.  This year we were surprised with about 27 trick or treaters compared to the single trick or treater we had last year.

Andy was a boyscout this year after he uncovered his old uniform when we reorganized the basement and found that it still fit!

Last year we ran out of time to carve our pumpkins and this year Andy was determined not to let it happen again.  He was carving while trick or treaters were coming but we still got it out before the night was over and it looked great.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Yard and Porch Decor

I love seeing all the pumpkins, mums, gourds, cornstalks, cabbages and straw in people's yards and on their porches.  The feeling of Fall is finally in the air!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

End of Season Tomatoes

My Dad decided he was done with tomatoes for the year and unloaded the rest of his harvest on me.  I am actually looking forward to weeks of fresh tomatoes as they ripen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

This is the week of Halloween and like many of you we will be carving the pumpkins that have been sitting on our front steps for the past two months. I haven't decided whether to free hand it or use the templates and kit I bought last year after Halloween for super cheap. For those of you who don't want to free hand your design or buy the pricey kits you can go here at Martha Stewart's website to print free pumpkin carving templates and directions. Happy Carving!

My Hero

On Sunday Andy and I were getting the bikes out for a leisurely afternoon ride to look at the colorful foliage.  As I was walking past the garden I was greeted by yet another snake.  Of course I reacted the way any grown woman would, I screamed like a little girl and ran away.

Andy got the shovel and as he got near the sucker was ridiculously fast in its attempt to get away but Andy was quicker and speared it.  I don't even care that he ruined some of my incoming lettuce beds.  If it had gotten away I am not sure if I would step foot in the garden for months.  The last snake was a baby and this was definitely 3-4x bigger.

I was scolded by my Dad that I should leave them be since they will eat garden pests.  But I don't care.  I can deal with lots of garden pests, but snakes are where I draw the line.  Since Sunday I keep peering into the garden praying I don't find yet another.  Here's my hero, victorious:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Organic Kitchen Garden


Organic Kitchen Garden by Juliet Roberts is a great resource for gardeners.  This book gives great information for planning, getting started, and ongoing garden care.  I enjoyed the detailed directions given for starting most common garden plants from seed and how to then transplant each specific plant.  I loved the extensive step by step real garden photographs and diagrams.  Too often books only tell us what to do but with these pictures they do a fabulous detailed job of also showing us.  Lastly the month by moth garden calendar for outdoor and indoor tasks is extremely helpful in keeping gardeners on time with their work.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I got all of my November magazines which all were focused towards the holidays.  All I can say is YAY!  The arrival of these magazines has gotten me excited for the holidays.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Frost Advisory

Tonight we are going to have our first possible frost. It is going down to 34 degrees.  I have decided to take a gamble and leave my tomatoes on the vine.  Next week we are going back up into the low 70s and it will be in the 50s at night.  If they can hold on through a possible one night light frost then my tomatoes will have at least one more week maybe two to get bigger and ripen.  My radishes, cilantro, and lettuces should be just fine and might even enjoy the frosty weather.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


This is my feeble attempt at composting this year.  We had this awkward corner between two fences in the back of our lot that had been dumping grounds for many of the previous owners.  After clearing it out and not knowing what to do with it we added some inexpensive tiny picket fencing and it has become our yard and garden waste corner. 

I don't worry about how many browns or greens I put in.  Only once have I turned it and that will probably be the last time.  Most likely it will take well over a year to properly break down but it's better than what we did last year which was to put everything out with the garbage.  I would like to get another composting system for food scraps but with this being so open I worry about attracting animals.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unusual Abundance

This picture of my counter isn't a normal sight in October but the tomatoes around here are still going strong.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Gardening

Over the weekend I took care of a few garden chores.  I snipped off all the incoming Canadian Thistle, thinned out some of the radishes, tore out most of the marigolds, and picked our ripe tomatoes.  I can't decide whether to leave the eggplant or pull it out, it still blooms but I don't know if any fruit at this point will grow.  All of our herbs are still doing quite nicely.  Here is this weekend's bounty: 

Saturday, October 16, 2010


This book was quite dense and a bit of a snooze.  There was some helpful information about crop rotation that I haven't read anywhere else.  However the rest of the book didn't contain anything particularly different or useful.  Not to mention that with few pictures, diagrams, and written in paragraph form about gardening theory it was a bit like reading a calculus text book.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October Tomatoes

In addition to the walnuts this week my father also gave me all these tomatoes.  Each week he brings more tomatoes from his garden.  Which makes me wonder how is he still getting lots of tomatoes?  My tomatoes have definitely slowed down.  In fact I have been waiting almost two weeks for the current green ones to ripen and they aren't even there yet.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


My father has been visiting almost weekly for the past month to help an old friend transition from independent living to assisted living.  He lives about three hours away in a more rural part of Ohio.  He and other family members have decent sized gardens and so I have been lucky enough to get weekly deliveries of extra produce.  This week I got walnuts!  I have never had walnuts from some one's own walnut tree so I am excited to see if there is any difference.  And let's face it nuts can get pricey, these walnuts were free, and we use them in salads, breads, pastas, pastries and more.  I have lots of cracking to do.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Grow Great Grub

Grow Great Grub by Gayla Trail is a book I would definitely recommend.  The book gives great practical advise on how to begin and grow an organic garden.  This is a book for the real gardener who isn't going to have a perfect, glossy magazine garden but wants to know how to get it done.  Gayla gives great information on how to fight garden pests, solve garden problems, storage of food, garden planning, and how to grow veggies for those that are space challenged.  With her book you will definitely grow great grub!

Friday, October 8, 2010


Now that I have planted all of my seeds and am just maintaining the garden until frost kills everything off it's time to think about getting organized.  I am well known for my organizational skills and I am actually quite proud of this.  But while I love being organized at times it's a pain even for me. 

You might be wondering what needs to be organized in terms of the garden.  I want to review my successes and failures of each type of plant from 2010.  Then begin a spreadsheet/chart to record successes and failures so I can track what does and doesn't work for our garden and region.  Next I need to start planning next years garden determining what I will repeat, never do again, and try new in 2011.

Hopefully this winter I will become more tech savvy so that I can post my spreadsheet and others can benefit from my trials and errors.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ongoings in the Garden

This week we continued to get cherry tomatoes, an eggplant, and the first bunch of radishes.  I ripped out all of our arugula because it was just too peppery and replanted seeds hoping that it will come in more mild with the cooler weather.  Our eggplant had tons of blossoms this week and it seems will continue producing.  We have a bunch of large tomatoes waiting to ripen and a few blossoms that are still producing.  Hopefully they will all mature before it frosts.  I planted the rest of our radish and lettuce seed.  I figure after this week any other seed won't have enough time to become established before the temperature really drops.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Slice of Organic Life

I picked this book solely on the cover.  While this isn't a recommended practice for picking books let's be honest we all do it.  Based on the cover the book discusses growing veggies, keeping chickens, composting, baking bread, saving energy and shopping locally.  I was interested to see what they would say on these topics.  What I found is that this is a great book to expose people to beginning many of these practices.  I would not recommend this as a reference guide but as a book to get anyone started or excited to living more organically.  I did enjoy the extensive colorful pictures that are often lacking in some great reference books.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Backyard Homestead

I received a recommendation for The Backyard Homestead for the wealth of knowledge it contains.  And I agree that for the size of this book it contains a wealth of information on growing veggies, fruit, grains, orchards and different livestock.  I really enjoyed that this book showed me how much is really possible without having a "farm."  This book is a great starting point or quick reference for basic procedures.  However if I was raising chickens I wouldn't use only this book.  In addition are procedures and recipes for preserving food, making beer, wine, cheese, bread and such.  This book is definitely worth perusing and depending on what books you already own it might be a good addition to your home library.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I Hate...

Snakes!  And this is what I was greeted with earlier this week in the garden.  I didn't notice him at first until I was too close for his comfort and he was freaking out at me.  I however beg to differ that it was the opposite way around, he was getting too close to me. 

I know that snakes eat bugs out of the garden and they can be beneficial.  But I would rather deal with the bugs than a snake.  So I took a shovel and ended his life.  Mean and cruel?  Probably, but this is my garden and I did not want a snake taking up residence.  I would have worried every time I go out there about running into him.  We live in quite an urban area and while yes we have deer, a mole, and crazy crickets, I never thought I would encounter a snake.  My skin is crawling just typing this.